Usually I write tongue in cheek reviews, never taking myself to seriously, always in for some silly jokes, but this slab of death metal got me quiet, very quiet.
Back from the Grave Tapes asked Déhà and Humanity Defiled to write some tracks for a split EP, two or three songs max. After a short period of time both (one man) bands showed up with each twenty minutes of material, so the EP became an album. Both were very passionate in their process of writing and this resonates throughout the forty minutes of high standard Death Metal. Both bands deviate from the beaten track, yet, how contradictory it may sound, their music can still clearly be categorized under straightforward Death Metal.
Déhà has the honor to open this split album with “Above Seasonal Norms” a hefty Death Metal track with tight blasting and an abundancy of double bass rolls, “Collapse!” though, cuts in pretty deep. A thrashy start with some hoarse hardcore vocals, to be inundated by a tsunami of blasts and deep grunts, both styles tumbling over each other throughout the song giving it a sharp and spiky energy.
“Take A Breath and Die” fires off with furious riffing and blasting, ideal to get you out of bed during these freezing winter days, half way track though, Déhà adds some grooves and gutturals to get your body moving and your head nodding.
“Disconnect” is Humanity Defiled first offering, riffing slowly and steadfast, supported by Déhà’s deep, articulated and moist grunts (think of a young Dave Ingram, imho) and propelled by a full sounding, fat bass drum. The intro of “Hell Graduate” will cut through every adolescents soul, giving this track the fury it needs, combining seething hardcore grooves with blistering Death Metal, empowering you to face another tough day at the job or at school.
“Ringed By Dark – Engulfed In Light” is the behemoth on this split. Prefaced by a touching intro it feels like spending ten minutes under a cloak of darkness and somberness in which you are circled by howling twin leads that cut through bone and marrow. The song drags on, laden with misery and despair, exhibiting an arduous sound and an emotionally loaded atmosphere.
Hugely impressed by the achievements of my two Belgian compatriots I realize that we, as listeners, are the big winners here. Déhà and Humanity Defiled created an aggressive, emotional and well thought out piece of art. A big thank you goes out to Back From The Grave Tapes for giving these guys the platform, so they are able to express their musicianship. Also a big thumbs up to tattoo artist Thomas Philip Acid (Levendleed) for creating the atypical yet beautiful cover art. (Franki_boj)